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MEDIA RELEASE: New Molecular Diagnostics Course Helps Support Ontario Labs

The Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario (MLPAO) is excited to announce our new Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory Fundamentals course, supported by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD).

Ontario’s Skills Development Fund through the MLTSD addresses challenges to hiring, training, and retaining workers during the pandemic. This course will help build capacity in our labs through COVID-19 and beyond.

Made by Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) for MLTs and Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technicians (MLA/Ts), the course covers theoretical and practical knowledge relevant to COVID-19 PCR testing, oncology, prenatal genetics, and genetic variants.

“Medical laboratories are an important part of our healthcare system, and it is crucial they have access to the workers they need to stay running”, said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This is why our government is in investing in programs that help more workers connect with employers to get the training and skills they need for exciting and well-paying careers in healthcare.”

Medical laboratory professionals are at the center of healthcare, conducting approximately 244.8 million lab tests annually for Ontario’s population of 14.8 million. COVID-19 testing has added a staggering 19 million PCR tests. Our healthcare system cannot survive without the 6258 MLTs and thousands of MLA/Ts who collect, process, and analyze medical tests.

With 70% of labs entering COVID-19 short-staffed,[1] and medical laboratory professionals are exhausted. Lab leaders have indicated a shortage of 466 MLTs, exceeding new MLTs entering the field (291) by a large margin.[2] Bringing more people into the field takes time, and 41% of practicing MLTs are eligible to retire within 2-4 years.[3] This course grows capacity within the existing workforce, strengthening molecular diagnostics teams.

“We are excited about this incredible first step of a larger plan to support medical laboratory professionals,” says Michelle Hoad, CEO, Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario. “We are proud to be working with the MLTSD to support COVID-19 testing now, as well as helping prepare the medical laboratory system to respond to future pathogens.”

Accredited by P.A.C.E. ®, this 6-hour course will expand knowledge of MLA/Ts working in molecular diagnostics labs as well as MLTs and MLA/Ts working in other areas of the laboratory to support MLTs with COVID-19 and other Molecular Diagnostics testing.

Because this course is government funded, we are able to offer it for $69.99. Pre-registration is now open - course materials will become available in January. Learn more and pre-register here:

[1] Based on a survey of lab leaders and professionals in May 2020. [2] Based on a survey of 120 medical laboratory workplaces in Spring 2021. [3] CMLTO, “Annual Report 2020,” October 2021, pages 15-16, assumes retirement eligibility at 55.

2021.11 Media Release - Molecular Diagnostics Course
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